Most drummers prefer to use a double pedal for use with one bass drum, unless they are professional recording musicians in which case they would generally prefer to use two bass drums each with a single pedal. That is because recording artists feel they have more control, and also because a recording is more likely to show the slight lag generally associated with double pedals.
This lag between left and right pedals, although slight and not normally noticeable during live performances, can be detected when recording. However, for the vast majority of drummers, double pedals are generally acceptable. Like most items of musical equipment you get what you pay for, and the more responsive the pedal drive system, the less this lag will be. Apart from this, the set-up of the pedals is critical and important that they are matched?
The Drive Systems for double pedals
The drive system can be important to many drummers, and you would generally have a choice between direct drive, chain drive and belt drive driven pedals. What's the difference between these? A lot depends on how fast you want to drum: really fast bass beats are best carried out with chain or direct pedals, since belts tend to slacken slightly and so lose their responsiveness.
Chains may have to be tightened occasionally, but usually remain responsive as long as they don't get too slack. Double chains are more responsive than single chains and are also more expensive. This is largely because double chain pedals tend to have a more stable pedal board, and greater stability offers more control and speed of bass drumming. Direct drive pedals are most responsive, and offer a direct transfer of energy from the foot to the beater. It is important that your pedals are balanced with each other. The foot plates should be adjusted independently to suit each foot action, and each beater should move perfectly together when pulled back and released. Double Bass Beaters The beaters are another important component of the pedals. It is important that the beaters are matched to give as close to exactly the same sound as possible. If your beaters have differences, then it doesn't matter how perfectly your respective drives are set up, you will not get the same sound from each.
The material, shape and size of the beater all contribute to the result, and those attached to each of your two pedals should be identical. You can purchase beaters with different surfaces according to how they are oriented, so make sure that if you use these, each different surface is the same on each beater for double pedal operation.
The set-up of the pedals is critical if you want your bass tones to sound right, particularly with fast drumming. They should be set so that the lag is at a minimum and that the beaters hit the drum at the same time and on a position that provides the same tone. This might take a fair but of trial and error, but once you get there, the pedals are almost as good as having two bass drums - it is next to impossible for non-professionals to tell the difference.
Summary: The set-up of the double pedal is important to ensure that both beaters give the same result. Factors which can affect this include the lag between left and right pedals, the drive system and the beaters themselves. It is important to set your pedals up correctly so that each gives as close to the same result as possible.
When choosing the most suitable set of double bass drum pedals for your needs, you should be aware of the factors that affect their performance. More information is available from Tom's website where you can also find the much desired TAMA Double Bass Drums along with a large selection of pedals of every kind.